fantasy · Writing

Made of Awesome Contest

Shelley Watters is hosting a Made of Awesome Contest where people post title, genre, word count and the first 250 words or complete first page on their blog for a review and maybe, just maybe, get read by an agent.

So here it goes.

Title: My Ancestors, My Blood. (Sadly, this is only a working title)

Genre: Urban Fantasy. ghosts, witches, wizards, mages.

Word Count: 70,500 (Yes, I have not updated my novel in progress counter in the sidebar. I very bad.)

My first page (yes, the whole first page, not just the first 250 words. But they are bolded.) Got two versions of this now. Silly me.


The wind was icy and a gust blew the exhaust of a passing bus into my mouth. I coughed into my hand. We probably wouldn’t net many people in the raid; eleven pm on a bitterly cold Monday night wasn’t the time to catch many people. But I’d gotten enough evidence to raid Carmine Stars only yesterday. It had taken all day to put together and organize the team.

The Lieutenant herself insisted on taking control. She couldn’t leave me behind because she wasn’t a Shadow Scout, and everything inter-race required the presence of a Shadow Scout. The new rules required more for leecher raids. A Shadow Scout needed to get solid evidence leecher activity was going on at least an hour before the raid took place.

It was stupid. If I had my way, I would shove all the leechers down a deep hole where –

I cut off that line of thought. This was my first real job in months. If I was going to finish it right, my head needed to be in the right place. I fingered the little mirror shard in my pocket before stepping forward.

The club’s outside was plain plaster and dark windows. Carmine Stars was outlined in orange neon above the front door. A pair of stylized dancers and the words “A Magical Night” decorated the windows. The music pouring from the open doors pulsed through my bones, and if I was here for any other reason, I would have been tempted to dance.

I paid the cover charge and went in. The doorman was a witch; I could tell from his green aura. It hovered above his dark hair like a green halo. Not a particularly strong one, either, because the green wasn’t dark enough for strength. Most male witches weren’t strong. But I allowed him to tie a thin green ribbon around my wrist as proof of payment. “Keep it on,” he told me. “You will regret it if you don’t.”

No doubt. The ribbon was warm against my skin and soft as a flower petal. The charm had probably started out as a plant. It glowed against my skin, a green ribbon of light, obvious to anyone with a smidgen of magic. A symbol that I was a normal human being, just in case anyone failed to recognize that I didn’t leak magic. Just as well. Considering the effort I had put into my shields and glamour, it would be humiliating if anyone saw through them.

Or this other version. Sadly, I realized this was mostly telling about ten minutes after I posted. Decided to go with it, but is this a better first 250 (265 really!) words?

I paid the cover charge. The doorman’s aura hovered above his dark hair like a green halo. The green wasn’t dark enough for strength, but male witches weren’t strong. I allowed him to tie a thin green ribbon around my wrist as proof of payment. “Keep it on,” he told me. “You will regret it if you don’t.”

The ribbon was warm and soft as a flower petal. The charm had probably started out as a plant. It glowed against my skin, obvious to anyone with a smidgen of magic. A symbol that I was a normal human being, just in case anyone failed to recognize I didn’t leak magic. Just as well. Considering the effort I had put into my glamour, it would be humiliating if anyone saw through it.

It was dim inside. I spotted Mags at the bar, giving his lady a drink.

No female witches to supervise. Not for the first time, I wondered where Mags found so many males witches willing to work outside the coven. Odd.

“What’ll you have?” the bartender asked. His aura was strong for a male witch, a speckled forest-green. It waved back and forth over his head like a demented bird. Typical leecher aura, but not proof anyone would accept.

“Surprise me.”

He drew me a cold mug of beer. Green pinpricks of a leeching spell lay across the top like sprinkles on ice cream. Not enough to affect me, but enough to affect someone with very weak magic.

All the proof I needed to call in a raid.

Go crazy people! Tell me what you think. Don’t worry, I got a thick skin.

Book Review · fantasy · reading

Book Review: Twilight’s Dawn

Twilight’s Dawn is the latest in the black jewels series. Twilight’s Dawn is not stand alone,  but I don’t think it was supposed to be. It is an anthology and it has four stories: Winsol Gifts, Shades of Honor, Family and The High Lord’s Daughter. Fair warning, there are lots of spoilers.

They are all good, but Shades of Honor is probably my favorite. For one thing, it answers the question raised in another Black Jewels book: what did Falonar do? Well, it turns out Falonar is a perfect ass. He’s not totally without honor (if he was, Janelle would’ve known) but he has a very different interpretation of honor from Lucivar. I think Lucivar should have killed him, but the death Daemon gave him is probably better. Lucivar would’ve given him a cleaner death. Second, I really loved Rainier here. He enters a new phase of his life. I, personally, would love to see a whole novel about him. Third, I liked the glimpse into Eyrien society.

The High Lord’s Daughter probably caused the most furor in the blog-sphere. I don’t get it. I really don’t get why people are upset. Jaenelle dies. But she was always going to die. And she was going to die before her first century, because (1) she is from the short-lived races and (2) the short-lived races die before their 100th birthday. That was stated from the first, and Anne Bishop is too good a writer to finagle a way around her own words.

Another reason a lot of people got upset is that Surreal married Daemon. This surprised me, but I went with it. Okay, so she’s not the great love of Daemon’s life, but Jaenelle is dead and he deserves better than to be alone. Surreal deserves better than to be alone, too, and most men are wary of being with her forever and ever (because is a mixture of long and short lived races, and she said no man wants that for his children).

The best thing about this story is their daughter, Jaenelle Saetien, and the fact that she is also dreams made flesh.

Plus, the black jewels books are not romances and I can’t say I ever really expected a happy ever after for the characters.

Winsol Gifts is a sweet story, but a little disappointing. Best part is when Daemon realizes Tersa is both his and Lucivar’s mother. It is worth reading for that alone. But the ending is disappointing because it seems incomplete. I mean, Daemon gets a present from his father and can’t open it because it is locked and he doesn’t have the key. I really want to know: what present did Daemon get? It’s driving me crazy.

Family is good, too. Mostly because Jaenelle goes back to being a Queen.

A lot of people think this is the last book in the series, but I disagree. There are decades between Family and The High Lord’s Daughter. There have to be lots of stories in that time period. And there is Rainer. He lives and dies and that story hasn’t been told, either. Besides, as important as Jaenelle as to this series, there are other characters (The Invisible Ring doesn’t include Jaenelle at all!) Ms. Bishop can write stories about any of them.